Swarthmore Warders of Imaginative Literature (SWIL) records
Held at: Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Swarthmore Warders of Imaginative Literature, Swarthmore College's science fiction & fantasy club, was formed in 1979 by a small group of friends, including Jim Huang '81 ("Fearless and Charismatic Leader"). In some senses, it replaced the Canton of the Ivory Tower, Swarthmore's dying chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism, as an outlet for weirdness and creativity.
In accordance with its mandate as Swarthmore's science fiction club, SWIL regularly organized showings of science fiction and fantasy movies, short story readings, and occasionally brings writers to speak at Swarthmore. SWIL maintains a the Cordwainer Bird Science fiction library, a library open to all students which was donated to Swarthmore by Carl Fristrom '80. The presidents put out a weekly newsletter, known as "SWILnews", containing meeting minutes and announcements of upcoming events. SWIL also publishes an annual literary magazine, which was called Unicorn Star from 1979-1983, and BEM, or Bug-Eyed Magazine, since 1983.
In 1984, SWIL acquired responsibility for the annual Pterodactyl Hunt, an evening-long role-playing game in which all of campus is invited to take up a sword and attempt to kill the last living Pterodactyl. The Pterodactyl Hunt had previously been a joke among the members of the Swarthmore folkdance club, but it became a much larger event, at various times part of either Swarthmore College's Spring Fling or Oktoberfest, and drawing as many as 200 students in 2003.
The presidents of SWIL put out a weekly newsletter, known as SWILnews, containing meeting minutes and other information from the presidents. From 1979-1992, this newsletter was sent out in paper form through campus mail. In the spring of 1989, email subscription was also made available, and by Spring of 1992, it had transitioned to being entirely digital. For these more recent records, see http://www.swil.org/SWILnews.
Other records included in this collection are Neil Ottenstein's 1983 "Official SWIL Survey", which aimed to assess the interest and needs of Swarthmore students with respect to science fiction & fantasy, budgets and other financial records, correspondence with Swarthmore College facilities staff and the Student Budget Committee, and correspondence with speakers whom the club brought (or tried to bring) to Swarthmore at one time or another. Records are arranged chronologically.
Related Materials: SWIL itself retains copies of these records, plus additional materials, including copies of publications (primarily BEM and Unicorn Star), relics from past Pterodactyl Hunts, and recent records. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
SWIL keeps a set of digital archives on their website, www.swil.org. Records include SWILnews for the years after it was switched from a paper to an email format, 1988-present.
The McCabe Treasure room retains copies of Swarthmore College student publications, including BEM and Unicorn Star.
- Swarthmore Warders of Imaginative Literature
- Swarthmore College -- Alumni and alumnae
- Swarthmore College -- Students
- Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
Collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright has not been assigned to the Repositories. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to the individual Meeting or its successor. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Repositories as the holder(s) of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.
Records are arranged chronologically, and include SWIL News, corresondence, and other records.
Includes SWIL survey.Physical Description